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|William R. Steinhaus, County Executive|
Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus has declared April 22nd to April 28th, 2007 to be National County Government Week (NCGW) in Dutchess County. The theme for this year’s celebration of NCGW is “Protecting the Environment.” NCGW is sponsored by the National Association of Counties (NACo) to raise public awareness and understanding about the roles and responsibilities of the nation’s counties.
“We are very pleased to participate in National County Government Week. This year’s theme “Protecting the Environment” is what we have been focusing on all year long, since I announced my “Dutchess Goes Green” agenda in my 2007 State of the County address,” said County Executive Steinhaus. “We have been working diligently toward our green initiatives. In honor of NCGW Protecting the Environment Week we will celebrate what we have accomplished and focus on what our next steps are.”
The County Executive points out some of the green initiatives already underway:
- Continued commitment to Open Space Preservation through the Dutchess County Partnership for Manageable Growth/Open Space and Farmland Protection Matching Grant Program – a program Steinhaus initiated in 1999. Most recently, county funds totaling $386,685 were used to help fund the purchase of Abel Tree Farm in Union Vale. The County Executive also recently visited the Hiddenbrooke property in the City of Beacon to review the City’s application for $550,000 in county matching grant funds.
- County Executive Steinhaus has submitted a $667,000 request to the County Legislature to support additional funding to pursue LEED Silver Certification for the Eastern Dutchess County Government Center by including additional items that benefit the environment and lessen the County’s reliance on non-renewable energy sources. LEED is the acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is a green building rating system that is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. The most notable “green” feature for the Eastern Dutchess County Government Center would be the addition of a geo-thermal heat pump system. Geo-thermal is a method of heating and cooling a building that takes advantage of the natural stable temperature stored in the earth. Geo-thermal is one of the most efficient ways to heat or cool a building. Impressive “green” energy savings for the Eastern Dutchess County Government Center are estimated at about $35,000 per year.
- Dutchess County has applied for the honor of being named a Preserve America Community. The designation recognizes a community for protecting and celebrating its heritage, using historic assets for economic development and community revitalization. Designated communities have the opportunity to apply for federal grants that can be used to preserve not only buildings and historic sites, but also the natural beauty of greenways, landscapes and heritage gardens. The grants available to Preserve America Communities support a greener future by saving natural heritage.
- More than half of the Dutchess County Department of Public Work’s snowplow fleet has been retrofitted with new automated salt spreaders. These new spreaders will not only provide the County savings in reduced salt costs, but also help protect the environment by allowing crews to put down only the necessary amount of salt. Road salts can be harmful to the environment when applied excessively. The salt can destroy vegetation growth along roadsides and can negatively impact animal habitats in the area. As snow and ice melts, deicing salts are carried into the soils along roadsides and eventually into surface and groundwater.
- Dutchess County Resource Recovery Agency (DCRRA) has begun the 2007 schedule of Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Disposal Days. Residents can bring unwanted items such as pool chemicals, oil or lead based paints, brake fluid, chemical fertilizers or even old electronics equipment to be safely disposed of. Collections will be held at the Dutchess County Resource Recovery Agency (DCRRA) in Poughkeepsie on May 5th, July 7th, August 4th, October 6th and November 3rd. There will also be collections at the Red Hook Recycling Center on June 2nd and the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Millbrook on September 1st.
“We are proud of our green accomplishments, but there is more work to be done. As we continue to celebrate NCGW Protecting the Environment Week, we will be announcing other green action steps we are taking as well as ways for Dutchess County residents to think green and behave green,” concluded County Executive Steinhaus.